Wonder drug or wipe out drug?
When antibiotics were first discovered, they were touted as a new wonder drug possible of curing previously deadly infections and illnesses. They are wonderful if you need to kill off a persistent infection. But they take their toll. Anti-biotics kill off the harmful bacteria in your body that are making you ill. The downside is they have no way of differentiating the good bacteria from the bad bacteria in your body. They may save your life but they also wipe out all the beneficial bacteria in your system. Our beneficial bacteria are involved in practically all systems in our body, including digestion, the immune system and mental health to name a few. Science has only begun to understand the depth of the effects the microbiome has on our health. As such its important to avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. There are times however when these drugs really are lifesavers and we’re grateful they are an option.
After taking anti-biotics you may experience immediate symptoms such as gas and diarrhea. However, research is surfacing showing that anti-biotic use can permanently alter the gut microbiome and reduce its diversity. Bad bacteria and fungi can take over and which has the potential to result in problems like malabsorption, irritable bowel syndrome, anxiety, depression, brain fog, acid reflux, acne, impaired immune function, autoimmune diseases, candida and more. To prevent such issues its important to take care during and after you take antibiotics.
Probiotics will help to restore the good gut bacteria that the anti-biotics wiped out. You can start taking probiotics right away and take them alongside your anti-biotics. You’ll want to take probiotics 2 hours away from your anti-biotics. Ensure that you’re taking a high quality, high dose probiotics. Continue taking your probiotics after your course of antibiotics as it will take a while to fully restore your microbiome. You can also take s. Boulardii which is a beneficial yeast that can be taken with your anti-biotics. It has been shown to prevent diarrhea associated with taking antibiotics. As a beneficial yeast, it can help to prevent harmful fungi like Candida proliferating.
Probiotics can only do so much. If you’re eating sugar, processed foods, hydrogenated or fried oil your gut microbiome will be out of balance and lead to inflammation. Cut out sugar as much as possible while you’re taking anti-biotics and afterwards as you restore your microbiome. Sugar includes both refined sugars such as white sugar and high fructose corn syrup as well as unrefined sugars like dates, fruit and even starchy carbs like white potatoes and pasta. Consider adding bone broth to your diet daily or a collagen supplement. Collagen, found in bone broth, helps to repair the gut lining. Eat lots of veggies that provide the body with nutrients as well as lots of fibre. You’ll also want to specifically make sure you have a good source of prebiotic fibre in your diet. Resistant starches such as refrigerated rice, potato starch and green bananas are great sources of prebiotics. Start slow with these, such as a couple of teaspoons of potato start in water and working up to a few tablespoons. Eating too much too soon can result in gastrointestinal upset such as gas and bloating.
Stress and Sleep
These might sound obvious, but stress and sleep are major foundations of health. Anytime your body is undergoing added stress, such as after an illness and taking anti-biotics stress reduction and sleep quality rise in importance. Consider saying no any non-essential to-do’s if you can. Allow yourself time to sleep in and go to bed early. You’ll bounce back quicker and stronger for it!